Millennium Space Systems Opens New Factory in Calif.

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WASHINGTON — Small-satellite manufacturer Millennium Space Systems has opened a new 6,300-square-meter headquarters facility in El Segundo, Calif., that will combine engineering, manufacturing and operations activities that previously were carried out at two separate sites, the company announced March 31.

The new factory will accommodate simultaneous design and production of more than 40 satellites, Millennium said. It also includes more than 1,000 square meters of secured space for sensitive programs, the company said.

Previously Millennium performed its engineering and manufacturing at a 900-square-meter facility in Torrance, Calif., and 180 square meters of secure operations and meeting space in Manhattan Beach, Calif., said Jeff Ward, the company’s vice president of product development.

“We have vacated Torrance, and will vacate Manhattan Beach when secure facilities are commissioned at our new headquarters, approximately June 2014,” Ward said via email. “This will give us an integrated headquarters for all of our work.”

Millennium builds small satellites and provides other space-related services for NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community. The company disclosed in February that it was the builder of a microsatellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office that launched in 2011.

The new facility will support Millennium’s existing programs as well as “anticipated near-term expansion,” the press release said. 

“Co-location of business functions, engineering and manufacturing results in bottom-line cost and schedule efficiencies that we pass on directly to our customers,” Millennium President Vince Deno said in a prepared statement. “Our new factory allows us to design, manufacture, test and deliver a wide range of satellites, and to bring our proven efficiencies to all levels of space programs.”

Millennium had been under contract to develop plans for six small imaging satellites under the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SeeMe effort, but that program only received $1 million of a requested $10.5 million. DARPA requested no funds for SeeMe in 2015.

Ward said the expansion is driven by a number of current and prospective opportunities. It would enable the company to mass produce commercial versions of the platform developed for the SeeMe program.